Essential vs. Non-Essential Construction During COVID-19

Construction during COVID-19

Retail stores and other commercial businesses have adjusted to the COVID-19 pandemic as possible. Social distancing governs how we live, work, shop, and play. We’re living in a strange time now.

There’s been much discussion about essential and non-essential services in the United States. How we do business in the construction industry is greatly altered.

“Essential” construction industry projects are prioritized and may resume quickly. “Non-essential” construction projects may be on hold another month. Or longer.

Essential Construction

San Francisco has defined essential vs. non-essential construction for in-the-works projects. There are 8 categories of essential construction projects that may continue working if they follow social distancing requirements:

  1. Affordable housing/income restricted residential units’ development
  2. Construction necessary to safeguard existing construction sites
  3. Construction/repairs for Essential Businesses’ properties
  4. Critical, non-commercial services projects involving homeless, economically disadvantaged, special-needs, and/or elderly
  5. Healthcare projects directly related to COVID-19 response
  6. Projects directly involved with maintenance, operation, or repair of Essential Infrastructure.
  7. Public works projects
  8. Shelters/temporary housing (not including hotels/motels)

The Gray Areas

Companies must follow state-and-local-government-specific construction guidelines. In most areas, non-essential projects are on hold. “New parts of a non-essential infrastructure project” may not be started. However, if your project falls under the non-essential category, there are situations in which you might be able to complete work.

For example:

  • Completion is permissible if the work needed to shut down the project is equal to/more than completing the project.
  • If a housing project has a defined percentage of affordable housing, construction may continue.
  • New housing starts must meet a “critical need.”
  • Residential renovations may continue if the continuance is necessary for safety/functionality.
  • Residential work on vacant properties may proceed if the work will make the property habitable. Construction can be completed to guarantee usable:
    • Bathrooms
    • Ceiling/walls paint (for sanitation to prevent mold/vermin infestations)
    • Electricity
    • HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning)
    • Kitchens
    • Plumbing
  • Roof installation can continue for weather protection.
  • You’ve got 3 walls built. You can build the fourth wall so the structure “stands secure.”

Site-Specific Health and Safety

By now you have developed your company’s site-specific health and safety plan, based on COVID-19 Construction Field Safety Guidelines. Record-keeping is critical: You will need to be able to track employee movements and note potential exposure events.

Be prepared. Soonyou’ll need to work harder…and smarter.

Construction Monitor’s success depends on your success. And the success stories for 2020 will be the construction industry-related businesses that used construction data to gain insight and develop marketing strategies. Call 800-925-6085 or contact Construction Monitor to learn more.

What Does COVID-19 Mean for the Construction Industry?

construction industry

By April 10, 2020, the Associated General Contractors of America revealed more than half of the construction firms in the United States had stopped work and 40 percent had laid-off employees, due to the coronavirus pandemic. 74 percent are seeking loans using the new Paycheck Protection Program.

In one week’s time, the number of canceled projects more than doubled. Shortages, including personal protection (masks) and construction materials, were reported; a small percentage of contractors reported equipment shortages.

“The construction industry is ready to rebuild our economy,” said AGC CEO Stephen Sandherr, “But that can’t happen without strong federal support and investments.”

EPC Contracts Will – or Won’t – Protect Construction Firms

Projects that aren’t being abandoned will need to return to the table for renegotiations, but not quite yet. No one is able to predict when our country will return to nearly normal.

All bets are off regarding future market shifts. No one can recall dealing with anything like this. Ever. Every industry in the world has felt the impact of COVID-19.

Most project developers feel as if we’ve gone far beyond standard “force majeure” language in construction contract terms. “Contractors will likely re-think whether traditional exclusions for relief are acceptable,” said law firm White & Case.

EPC (engineering, procurement, construction) projects have been scuttled due to government-imposed regulations. Cities, state, and federal shelter-in-place requirements may impact force majeure unless there are changes in law; specifically, changes in the language of some laws. Contracts between construction firms and developers and stakeholders/investors will come under close scrutiny.

Recovery is Guaranteed

We’re Americans. We always come together in times like this and we will come back better for it. Try to avoid hard-and-fast business decisions based on economic advisories. However…

After examining the numbers – coronavirus and economic trends – here are what equity analyst Preston Caldwell and CFA Karen Andersen suggest:

  • Restrictions will begin lifting in June 2020.
  • Social distancing measures will return as the virus resurfaces throughout the year.
  • The dire predictions regarding long-term economic disruption are incorrect.
  • Fiscal stimulus should prevent a collapse in demand.

“Overall, we still expect a modest long-run economic impact, with GDP down 0.9%,” said the researchers. “In our view, a COVID-19 recession doesn’t fit the mold of a 2008-style recession with longer-lasting economic impact.”

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Use this time to prepare for a construction industry economic upswing. And stay connected with us. Construction Monitor is the construction industry source for applied building permit information. Call 800-925-6085 or contact us today.

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Using Construction Data to Compare Market Share

market share construction data

“Market share” is the percentage or portion of the market controlled by a company or its products/services. If you’re the largest distributor of construction widgets in Maricopa County, AZ, you have the majority market share.

You should use construction data analytics to keep an eye on other companies. (They may try to cut into your market share.)

Perhaps you would like to target another market; a different location. You need to evaluate your competitors. What market share does each company have and what are their vulnerabilities? Construction data using last year’s building permit information and historical trends will give you the numbers you need.

How to Calculate Your Market Share

There’s an easy, logical formula to calculate your construction-industry widget sales market share. First, pick the timeframe, such as 2Q 2019.

Take your total revenue, 2Q 2019 and – this is where it gets tricky – find the total sales revenue for all construction widgets in your market.

Divide your revenue by the total revenue and you now have your market share percentage. Or you could simply request a construction data detailed statistics report.

Markets Vary by Location

For every 1,000 average single-family homes built,
2,975 jobs are created.
Builder magazine

New home building trends show an overall drop in new housing between the mid-2000s and 2020. The world is so much smaller today! You should closely follow national and global industry trends. But you can’t lose sight of the fact that data for Mississippi may have no bearing on your company in Washington.

Coronavirus 2020 and You

Put your market share information to work, and do it now, while you’ve got some “down” time. This is no time to spend working jigsaw puzzles at home (Although many of us in the construction industry enjoy that particular hobby).

Pull the reports you need from Construction Monitor, then contact us and ask one of our construction data professionals for suggestions on how to implement a market-share action plan using construction data. Call 800-925-6085 to learn more.

Meanwhile, we wish continued good health for you and your loved ones.

Can Construction Data Help Your Appliance Business?

construction data

The small home appliance market forecast¹ for 2020-2026 was released in February. The small home appliance market includes:

  • Food Preparation Appliances
  • Heating Appliances
  • Irons
  • Personal Care Appliances
  • Small Kitchen Appliances
  • Vacuum Cleaners

The large home appliance market² includes:

  • Air Conditioners
  • Kitchen Appliances
  • Refrigerators
  • Television
  • Washing Machines
  • Others

If you sell appliances – small or large – you’re part of the construction industry, which means construction data can help you develop marketing strategies for tough times. Like today.

Use Construction Data to Strategize

The coronavirus pandemic may not have caught us completely by surprise. But few could have predicted the global shut-down for many industries, including the appliance market.

Contractors and homeowners are concerned about income, but when the economy bounces back – and it will – construction data tools will have you poised to take control of your geographic market share.

Timing is Everything

The only thing that overcomes hard luck is hard work. -Harry Golden

It’s slow right now; that can be a good thing. Developing real-time leads using building permits information is going to give you a competitive edge. Now is the time for you to lay the foundation to better your business. Building reports generate construction data that can be sorted by project information such as: 

  • Address
  • Scheduled start date
  • Types/job specifics
  • Value

How to Boost Your Appliance-Industry Business

Your first task is to decide what type of construction data will best provide the information you require. Building permit tools are available. Plugging them in is your job.

Basic construction data information may give you exactly what you need. It will also tell you the top 15 general contractors you should cultivate in any area of the U.S. (It’s free.)

Sometimes, more really is more:

Powersearch – Choose from:

  • Architects
  • Contractors
  • Developer/tenants
  • Owner/builders
  • Owners

…Then select residential and/or commercial construction. Whether it’s in-the-works new builds or temporarily paused renovations, connect with decision-makers. Let them know when they’re ready for appliances, you’ll be ready.

Construction Monitor: 30 Years of Construction Data Development

Startups must work hard to overcome experienced competitors. Established companies work even harder to reinforce their brand.

We understand what your business needs to succeed, and we want to help. Construction Monitor is the flagship building permits reports information source, and we work hard to be the best.

Let us partner with you today for a better tomorrow.

¹https://www.marketwatch.com/press-release/small-home-appliance-market-2020-global-industry-analysis-size-share-growth-trends-key-players-and-forecast-to-2026-2020-02-06
²https://www.marketwatch.com/press-release/home-appliance-market-overview-2020–impact-of-industry-peers-driving-factors-distributors-wholesalers-end-use-sector-by-region-by-country-forecast-to-2026-2020-01-27

Using Construction Data to Improve Your Website

construction data to improve your website

Construction data can help make your website more relevant and informational to your most likely prospective clients. Research shows interested customers don’t linger long on sites where products and services are not specific to the customer’s needs or locale.

Effectively prioritizing the information on a website helps generate maximum exposure and amplify sales potential. Utilizing construction data from building permits provides the raw information to accurately aim website content and attract the most suitable prospects.

Target your marketing

Data from building permits offers the opportunity to more accurately match services on your website to specific demands and/or a particular season. For example, building permit data can indicate particular areas where renovations and remodels are trending upward this spring. This information gives you an edge by enabling you to synchronize the information on your site to the rising demand in that specific area.

Localize specific services

Construction data can also pinpoint particular areas where certain services are increasing in demand. With accurate data, you’re empowered to target the site accordingly by emphasizing closely related services and products.

A spike in recent permits issued for water damage recovery might indicate areas where a market for structural repair and rehab of flood damage also exists. Increases in permits for installation of high-efficiency HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) and/or high-tech insulation retrofits could be a sign of increasing concern about local energy costs or environmental issues.

Track your competitors

Information about who’s getting what kind of work—and where—can be derived from permit data. If you learn contractors and other companies providing services similar to yours are thriving in a particular geographic zone or income level, that’s information you can use. For example, you can use such data to adjust your website content appropriately as well as localize your sales outreach to the most promising locale.   

Use construction data to effectively fine-tune your website content and engage potential customers in a targeted market.  Contact the professionals at Construction Monitor for more information.

Construction Data: What to Review This Spring

construction data

Construction data included in building permits changes with the seasons. Projects encountered in autumn, for example, are generally not the same as what’s happening in spring and early summer. Contractors and subcontractors can benefit from targeting their focus to fit the time of year.

Spring is the season for home improvements and remodeling. As the weather improves, houses open up and homeowners tend to start planning updates. Among the most popular are:

  • Kitchen renovation. Kitchen revamps typically appear in building permits as electrical alterations to accommodate the new appliances as well as replacement/expansion of kitchen plumbing. Cosmetic changes like installing new counters or cabinets, conversely, generally don’t require building permits in most locales.
  • Room additions. Adding a new room to a home or converting a garage is often not feasible during winter. As spring arrives, however, permit data shows that room additions spike. In addition to the general construction permit, there will be increases for specialty trades including electrical, HVAC, and plumbing.
  • Roofing repairs. That leaky or snow-damaged roof homeowners put up with all winter requires a permanent fix now that the weather’s improving. Any roofing work more complex than a simple single patch shows up in building permit data, including new shingles and subroof repair.  
  • Window replacement. Cold drafts and heat loss due to aging single-pane windows have taken their toll this winter. As summer approaches, the installation of new energy-efficient windows is often on the agenda. Because installing dual-pane energy-efficient windows usually involves alterations to the window opening or other structural changes, it requires a permit.
  • HVAC and associated work. Residents ready to upgrade a central air conditioner or furnace often put it off until outdoor temperatures moderate in spring. Replacement of a central A/C or furnace—or associated work such as replacing or extending HVAC ductwork—requires permitting and appears in building permit data for that locale.

Reviewing construction data for season-specific projects helps keep work and profits consistent as the calendar changes. Contact Construction Monitor for more details.

Using Data in Construction Bidding

Construction Bidding

Subcontractors use construction data to stay on top of area analytics. They want to know what companies are winning the most bids for new-builds and commercial or residential renovations. The subcontractor that sent you a basket of fruit over the holidays? That’s the company that made money with you last year and wants to partner with you this year.

If subcontractors are on top of their game, they expect you to be even better informed. You have construction projects to bid. A lot of people and other companies depend on you to win the bid. What kind of information do you need to make profitable bids that hit a home run with municipalities, project managers and investors?

Ways to Bid to Win Construction Projects

You need a good software program to help you make the best bids. The construction bidding software for 2020 garnering the most favorable reviews and recommendations* include:

  • Adoddle
  • B2W Estimate
  • Building Connected
  • CoConstruct
  • Contract Complete
  • e-Builder
  • HCSS Heavy Bid
  • HeadsUp iCPM
  • iSqFt for General Contractors
  • McCormick Estimating Software
  • Methvin
  • OmTrak
  • Pantera Tools
  • PAS Concepts
  • Pipeline Suite
  • PlanHub
  • Relatics
  • SmartBid Bid Management

“Bid first, know your competition and don’t chase every job.” –Borderstates.com

Staying profitable in a competitive bidding environment means you need to know as much as possible about your local market. Every week, the latest regional construction project bids ready to preview are listed. Armed with that info, decide which jobs you can bid for profit:

  1. Do your homework – Be able to speak to design details and their ROI.
  2. Know who the decision-makers are – Learn what they require to build confidence.
  3. Push your qualifications – Be straight-up about why your team can deliver better value, stay within the budget, and meet project timelines.
  4. Embrace technology.

When You Have Construction Projects to Bid, Technology Delivers

Your software can help, but nothing can give you a better edge than local, timely, relevant construction data. Contact Construction Monitor. When you win, we win.

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*Construction Monitor does not formally endorse nor recommended any project bid/management software.

Construction Data Will Strengthen Building Materials Industry

building materials industry

The first quarter of 2020 is seeing many industry ups and downs; that’s not unusual. Despite a very healthy economic trend nationally, there’s still an edge of uncertainty.

What has been somewhat anticipated for the construction industry is real: Standard & Poor reports U.S. housing starts are flat. Homeowner renovations are doing well but expected to slow between 1%-3%.

The building materials industry will see solid strength in some companies no matter what S&P predicts for 2020. Flying-By-The-Seat-Of-Our-Pants, Inc. will have to smarten-up quickly because when times are tough, the tough look to marketing and advertising for survival. This decade’s building materials sales are going to be driven by construction data.

Why We’re Seeing a Slowdown

Tariffs on Chinese imports continue to be the elephant in the room, and negotiators are considering rollbacks. But an increase in tariffs could definitely hit us where we live.

The cement industry is dealing with CO2 emission cuts, primarily in Europe but we know that what impacts the construction industry “over there” is a good predictor of what’s going to happen here. The good news for concrete materials is many states are increasing funding for aging roadway repairs.

Millennials are becoming more conservative about premium building materials (floors, interior design in baths/kitchens) and are opting for mid-range materials instead. 

John McManus in the January 6, 2020 issue of Builder magazine says building materials supplies are being influenced by “L” words:

  • Labor
  • Laws/regulations
  • Lending
  • Lots
  • Lumber/materials

How Applied Construction Data Builds Your Business

Before you begin tightening your belt and laying off employees, know that 2020-2021 will be a year for 1.5% growth in our industry. Any growth is good for business. That’s simply less growth than we’ve seen recently. 

You can use this slowdown to play catch-up or use this time to cultivate your marketing and sales strategy. Request:

  • Area-specific commercial, residential, solar construction leads
  • Detailed statistics
  • Geographic building permit data
  • Project reports
  • Real-time construction leads

…by calling 800-925-6085 or contact a data professional at Construction Monitor.

You have building materials, and we do too. Let us help you build your business this year and beyond.

How to Learn About Construction Trends in Your Area

Construction Trends

Learn to spot construction trends before your competition and you’ll gain access to pools of potential clients eager to get in on the next big trend. Construction data makes it easy to identify emerging trends by showing you exactly how your target market’s demands change over time.

Track Building Permit Data

An increase in building permits issued for a certain type of project is a clear sign demand for this project is trending upward. If you see bathroom remodels are starting to overtake kitchen remodels, that tells you not only what skills your would-be customers might be looking for in a general contractor, but also what kind of cabinets, countertops, and floor coverings will interest them. As a roofing contractor, you might notice the demand for roof replacements is down, but more homeowners are building additions, so you can adjust the focus of your marketing accordingly.

With access to in-depth building permit data, you’ll see not only what types of projects are gaining popularity but also which aspects of those projects are changing. Even if the popularity of kitchen remodeling is holding steady, you might discover the average value of those projects is rising. That could mean homeowners will be increasingly interested in luxury products.

Examine Data on Leading Construction Firms

Paying attention to what the most successful construction companies in your area are doing can lead you toward profitable trends. Data on these companies can tell you what types of residential and commercial projects they’re focusing on, how much these projects are worth on average, and where the work is happening.

Looking over the data on the biggest local company might show you they’re shifting their efforts toward commercial office spaces. If all three of the local top companies are making that move, you’re probably onto a trend. As a building materials supplier, you can get in on the trend by preparing to stock more material suited to office construction and targeting your marketing towards the needs of commercial builders.

For more on using construction data to spot profitable trends, contact us at Construction Monitor.

Getting More Value From Construction Data

Construction Data

Construction data services make it easy to pull up the exact market data you want, but once the data is in your hands, it’s on you to make the most of it. Knowing how to extract more value from the information you have puts you ahead of your less-savvy competitors.

Get an In-Depth View of Your Market

Building permit data gives you an overview of the type of construction projects in demand in your area, but that’s not all it’s good for. Project value can tell you what kinds of products are likely to sell well. If you sell cabinets or countertops and notice a lot of budget-conscious bathroom remodels going on, you can be sure you have potential customers out there looking for budget-friendly materials. On the other hand, if high-value bathroom remodels are on the rise in your area, make sure you can provide the kinds of timelessly fashionable, high-quality products affluent homeowners want.

Permit data can also help you find general trends in the market. If new roofs and kitchen remodeling projects are popular at the moment, that suggests residents are focusing on their existing property. A lot of new swimming pools and weekend cabins, however, might tell you your would-be customers are interested in developing their property beyond what they already have. That could mean they’re in the market for home additions, too.

Learn From The Competition

When you go through local building permit data, pay attention to which construction companies are working on the kinds of projects you want. Is there a reason they’re getting the jobs and you’re not? Maybe your company has more expertise, but your marketing isn’t making that clear.

Find the top three or four companies that serve your market and identify what they have in common. As an insulation contractor, if you find the biggest general contractors near you focus heavily on industrial projects, you’ll know there’s likely to be money in industrial insulation.

For tips on getting the most out of all the construction data you have, contact Construction Monitor.